Over the past several years, Scribd, a U.S.-based digital subscription service for e-books, audiobooks, and magazines, has aggressively expanded into international markets, with a focus on the Spanish-speaking world. Julie MacKay, director of international content acquisition at Scribd, recently discussed the latest developments at the company with PW.
What is Scribd’s presence in the Spanish market, and how has it been developing?
Scribd is a global platform. Our more than one million subscribers are readers and curious individuals from around the world. Last year we introduced a new, localized experience in Mexico and have since seen tremendous growth in subscriptions and reading activity. We’re delighted by the reaction from the publishing industry and consumers, and we’re committed to expanding our Spanish-language premium catalog. Our plan is to continue investing in the Mexico market and to build our presence in other Spanish-speaking countries.
What’s the size of the current catalog for Spanish-speakers and readers?
Today we have over a million premium e-book and audiobook titles, as well as thousands of magazines, podcasts, and more. We’ve expanded our Spanish catalog by 40% year over year, and now offer over 85,000 premium titles in Spanish. One of the most interesting things that we’re seeing in Mexico is that our readers are consuming more than one content type, with almost 40% of subscribers consuming more than two content types over the last year. We work with hundreds of publishers, including leading Spanish-language publishers such as Planeta, Anagrama, Océano, and Sexto Piso.
What is the vision for developing this service further in the future?
Our vision is to build the best destination for curious minds. We’re always adding new content to the platform and looking to build or expand relationships with publishers. We’re exploring new and interesting ways to work with publishers and authors to create new content. International expansion is a priority for the company and the Spanish market is a top focus area for 2021 and beyond.
What role has the Guadalajara International Book Fair played in helping you develop your catalog? Any surprises?
I’ve only been to FIL twice, but it’s definitely a must-attend event for the future and I look forward to expanding Scribd’s presence next year. On my last visit, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jazmina Barrera, one of the founders of Ediciones Antílope, outside in a sun-filled courtyard. I vividly remember Jazmina telling me all about Antílope’s books, as well as the book she wrote herself, Cuaderno de faros. We now feature Antílope’s e-books on Scribd, and I was thrilled to read Jazmina’s own book when it was published in the States by Two Lines Press as On Lighthouses in the spring. FIL is an essential opportunity to connect with publishers and authors in person, not only to forge business partnerships but also to develop personal relationships.